My journey to completing Wilmslow Half Marathon

Chris Jones

I have been working in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor for 8 years. My key areas of interest are Strength & Conditioning for Sport, and race/event preparation.

I have been involved in sports, outdoors and enjoying healthy adventures for as long as I can remember and it is my belief that we are capable of anything if we put our mind to it; looking after ourselves, body and mind are fundamental to a long and healthy life.

Published: March 27th 2024

Category: Cardiovascular Training, Mental Health, Nutrition & Diet, Sports Performance

Overcoming Covid and Navigating Injury: My Journey to Completing the Wilmslow Half Marathon

Just burned 2,000 calories. That’s the last time I leave brownies in the oven while I nap.

Jokes aside what activity could I possibly do to burn 2000+ calories in one sitting (or at least according to my MyZone)? For me right now it’s got to be a half marathon, not to mention the training to go with it.

Now that’s not a distance or duration that has come easy to me. Before I started at Everybody Health and Leisure in summer 2022 I hadn’t ever competed/completed in any organised events since high school (and they were never endurance sports). Roll back to April 2022 I finally came victim to the dreaded OMICRON variation of COVID19.

An active PT of 8 years at this point, not to mention an and a lifetime of outdoor activities and adventures, I was absolutely flawed. I’ll never forget having to sit down for 3 minutes to recover after attempting to perform 10 press ups moments before I was supposed to be delivering a high energy class to a room full of enthusiastic gym members!

Time passes and strength returned but I couldn’t possible consider anything cardiovascular related…and here I am chanting ‘burpees’ to my willing subjects in my classes…an absolute fraud, knowing full well I couldn’t match half the efforts I was putting them through.

Then Everybody came along, or should I say I came to work at Macclesfield Leisure Centre. From the outset I was welcomed by a sense of positivity and within days found myself sat between two Triathletes talking over the nuances of endurance training and joys of joining others to compete and/or complete event.

I knew the only way to push myself out of the cardiovascular fitness rut I had got into was to push myself out of my comfort zone. Later that day I booked my first event, the September South Manchester Sprint Triathlon whose headquarters, transition and Swim leg is held out of our very own Wilmslow Leisure Centre.

I now had to train, but most importantly I had a goal with a good period and specific requirements. The idea of a Tri seemed good as I didn’t have to do either of the three disciplines for a great deal of time so added variety for me to mask the fact my lunges were making me want to cry.

‌So I trained all summer, taking advice and help from all the wonderful staff I had just met and made friends with. The swimming teachers described me as ‘a drowning T-Rex’ in the water (Master’s Swim Fit classes helped me out there) I regrettably hardly touched a bike until the race itself borrowing one at the last minutes for the day and let’s just say it’s a good job no one watched me coaching and spluttering as I clocked up laps of the athletics track.

The race came, as a complete novice I plodded round and I finished it! THAT was all that matted, it was called a ‘race’ but the only person I was racing was myself…..

HOWEVER I got ‘the bug’

‌I had overcome what had felt impossible 6 months earlier when I couldn’t even do 1 press up and it felt amazing.

So what next?

I was a dinosaur in the pool, apparently, so that needed some work and I still didn’t have my own bike yet. I had always enjoyed running I suppose, not that I had done much up to this point so took that as my focus.

Running it is then, Wilmslow Half Marathon 2023 March, one of the first events of the season locally. I trained well all winter, not just running but grafted in the pool and the gym as well as finally getting my own bike.

Then disaster, or just life you could say, these things happen. I had a small incident between my knee and a brick wall during a training run in central Manchester and the wall won.

With only really enough time to sufficiently follow through an appropriate rehabilitation program I undertook the longest in both distance and duration single run I had ever done. Lung capacity and cardiovascular endurance worries fully on the back burner I was now focused on perfect gait patterns, posture and foot strike to ensure I made it through unscathed. I finished and was ecstatic with my effort, the journey so and the support from family and friends waiting at the finish line (hugs from your kids at this point are just the best).

This brings me right round to now, March 2024 with Wilmslow Half Marathon this weekend and the events official charity partner being Cardiac Risk in Young which you will all now is close to Everybody especially many staff here at Macclesfield. I couldn’t be prouder to be running the race for myself, the charity and in the name of all the support Everybody has provided me along the way.

Are you interested in running a half marathon or want to train for an event? Find out more about Everybody’s Personal Training Here.